As winter fades away, soon it will be nothing but blue skies, green grass and yellow sunshine. Well, except for the afternoon showers, influx of insects and increased pollen counts.
Luckily, these problems can be easily solved with an umbrella, a bottle of DEET-free bug spray and some antihistamines. But as you prepare to embrace everything springtime has to offer, take a few moments to become familiar with potential seasonal hazards for your four-legged family members.
Following are some pet care and safety tips for the months of March, April and May:
1. Clean with care
Ready to start your spring cleaning? Make a concerted effort to keep all chemicals away from your furry friends! Most cleaning products can be harmful to pets—even all-natural varieties. So, be sure to read product directions carefully, keep animals away from the areas you’re cleaning and store all supplies safely out of reach. Your dog, cat or guinea pig will thank you!
2. Watch those windows
Want those spring breezes to flow through your home? We don’t blame you! Just be sure that all your screens are securely in place before you open the windows. Unscreened windows present a risk to pets—especially cats—who may jump onto sills and fall through.
3. Know before you grow
Herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers… They help keep our lawns and gardens healthy, vibrant and green. But they also present a serious risk to our feline and canine companions. Always follow product instructions carefully and store these potentially dangerous chemicals out of reach of pets.
Many popular spring plants, such as azalea, sago palm and rhododendron, are toxic—even fatal—to pets if ingested. Be sure to do your research before choosing new additions to your garden.
4. Sneezing schnauzers!
Spring means flowers are beginning to bloom, which can trigger an allergic reaction in pets (and their owners!). Contact your veterinarian if you notice that your dog or cat experiences any of the following signs of spring allergies:
- Excessive itching
- Frequent sneezing
5. Buzz off!
The warm spring weather likely means that your fur-baby will spend more time exploring the great outdoors. But he or she won’t be the only little bugger who is out and about. Make sure your pet is treated for fleas, ticks and heartworm, and do your best to keep your curious cat or dog away from the bees that like to linger near spring blooms.
If, despite your best efforts, your pet gets stung, contact your vet immediately as serious allergic reactions can occur.
6. Walk with confidence
Spring means warmer weather, longer walks and more frequent trips to the park. It also means greater opportunity for your cat or dog to wander off. Make sure your pet has been microchipped and that he or she is wearing a tag imprinted with your contact information. These simple steps help ensure easy identification in the event of separation—and a happy reunion.
7. Have a safe holiday!
Easter is a time of celebration, but the candy and décor that typically accompany the holiday can harm pets. So, keep an eye on any chocolate, which can be toxic to both cats and dogs, and keep your furry friends away from plastic grass (the kind used to line baskets), which can cause vomiting, dehydration and digestive tract obstructions. Also, be aware that lilies can be fatal if ingested by felines.